Posted in Monthly Musings, Travel

Monthly Musings

Happy Thursday!

Wow! February is almost over. I know it’s a shorter month, but I feel like it’s flown by.

Since it’s the end of the month, I’m linking up with Patty and Holly for Monthly Musings.

This month’s topic is: warm weather destinations/winter travel tips

First of all…I wish I was able to travel somewhere warm in the winter. 😆

So, most of these are just my general travel answers.

1. Favorite warm weather destination

The first place that always pops in my mind is Siesta Key, Florida. It will probably always be my family’s favorite even though we haven’t been for a couple of years. I also love Isle of Palms, SC and San Diego. Even if we don’t go to SK, we at least see the ocean once a year…and maybe more if we are lucky.

2. Packing cubes: yes or no?

Yes! I love packing cubes, and have used them for a few years. I always use them, the kids sometimes do, and Travis never does. This is also the same order of the one who overpacks the most to the least! The kids usually use one to hold socks, underwear, pjs, and swimsuits. I use them for everything.

3. Favorite carry on?

I picked up this bag from Target about a year ago, and it’s my #1 carry on bag. It’s a “weekender” bag, so it’s what I pack for overnight trips as well. Also, it comes in a few other colors.

4. Essential items in your suitcase?

Well, everything goes in my suitcase. I’d say the packing cubes are essential because they keep me organized and squish all my belongings to make room for more!

5. Excursions? Yes or no? Share your favorites.

I really think in all of our vacations, we’ve only been on one excursion…and that was this summer when we went to Mexico. We spent a day on a boat with a stop at Isla Mujeres. We all had a great time.

6. Most random item you always pack?

I do not leave home without my sound machine. I need white noise. In a pinch, I’ve use an app on my phone, but it’s not the same. If we are all staying in one room, we just bring one sound machine. That being said, if we have the kids in one room and us in another, we’ll bring two. Hadley loves a sound machine as well. While my preference is “white noise,” hers is “ocean waves.”

7. Do you use a travel agent?

The only time we’ve used a travel agent was for our Mexico trip. Otherwise, Travis White is my travel agent.

8. Favorite sunscreen?

As much time as we spend at the pool and the beach, I do make sure we use sunscreen. I’m not super loyal to any brand, but these two are typically in my pool bag. The stick is perfect for our faces and the spray is easy to apply. Actually, both are easy to apply, so the kids know to come reapply every other time the pool break whistle blows!

9. Flip flops or sandals?

I’ve been wearing these Havaianas flip flops for years. I have them in rose gold and grey.

Last summer, I splurged on these big buckle Birks from Nordstrom. I absolutely love and them and have zero regrets.

That being said, both Hadley and I have been wearing these Amazon Birk dupes for the past few summers. She has them in white, and I have them in rose gold. I wear them often as does she. As a matter of fact, I think I purchased Hadley’s three summers ago, and I did tell her I’d get her another pair this summer…as her foot has grown a bit, and she’s worn them to the ground!

10. Favorite swimsuit?

I bought this Amazon swimsuit in two patterns a couple of summers ago. I still turn to them more than any other swimsuit.

I do have my eye on this one from Target:

I never think about ordering swimsuits in February, so I hope it’s still available when I decide to give it a try.

other thoughts…

This post got me thinking …about vacations. When I was a kid, we didn’t go on many family vacations. When we did, we went on bigger ones to the west coast, the northeastern states, Minnesota, etc. We did go to the Lake of the Ozarks quite a bit though.

Also, when I was in school, we didn’t have a fall break. Even when I first started teaching in Missouri, I think we only got Columbus Day off in October. Also, while we did get a spring break when I was in school, I’m pretty certain it wasn’t a week. I think it usually fell around Easter. Of course, times were different. Travel, overall, is more convenient. Also, obviously, it’s a longer drive to the beach in Missouri as opposed to Kentucky.

My kids now go on at least three vacations/trips a year. While I’m not saying they are ungrateful about that, but more…it’s all they know.

In all my years teaching, I’ve never really had the desire to go anywhere for spring break. Of course, I’m a home body, but from March – May, I just feel like I’m in survival mode…and I like nothing better than a few days at home with not much to do. I also like to take that time to do things we don’t usually have time to do like go to the movies, go for a hike, sit on a patio at a restaurant and enjoy dinner at a leisurely pace and more!

Fall break was typically only a few days, so we usually would just go to Asheville for a couple of days. Then, for spring break, we usually go somewhere for a few days. Spring break is when we try to branch out and go somewhere different but within driving distance. Through the years, we’ve been to Knoxville, Indianapolis, Nashville, KC (which isn’t new –but from there, Travis and I went to Las Vegas), and Asheville if we didn’t go in the fall.

Then, summer vacation is our bigger vacation. I am glad we try to take our kids to places they are both familiar with but then also places that are also new to them. I will say having a week at the beach in the fall “ruined” us because it really is the perfect time. After that vacation, Travis declared that he was never going on a vacation to somewhere hot again in the summer! Next school year, we get another week for fall break, and we plan to head to the beach again. I’m not sure what our summer vacation will be just yet.

On top of that, we try to get to KC to see my family at twice a year.

There are even some schools around here that just wrapped up a winter break last week which means they have fall, Christmas, winter, and spring breaks…and then summers off too, of course…and it seems some travel for all of those. (Of course, no shade to those people…travel is more of a priority for some…)

Sometimes, we feel the “pressure” to take so many trips every year. Who is “pressuring” us? Mostly, our kids…😂 They do like to go somewhere if possible.

Also, I try not to dwell on it, but it’s easy now to see that we really do only have about five fall/spring breaks left with our kids. Like…when did that happen?

Traveling is such a privilege that I never want my kids to take for granted. It’s a blessing we make these trips/vacations happen, but I also want my kids to feel content with staying home a bit too.

I also wish Travis and I could find the time to go somewhere just the two of us more than we do. I occasionally tag along on a work trip when he goes somewhere like California, but otherwise, being parents to two busy kids with both of us working full time really does take up most of our time.

Anyway, just sharing my thoughts.

The combination of this post and our weather lately, which has been perfect, has me wanting it to be summer ASAP.

How often do you travel? What’s your favorite vacation spot?

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17 thoughts on “Monthly Musings

  1. I agree about hitting Spring Break and just being in survival mode – especially in a year with no snow days!
    During the elementary and middle years we did DC on Spring Break and Universal one Spring Break and then I think we went to Great Wolf Lodge maybe three years. We thought that was a lot of fun.
    I am pretty tired of being tied down by the school schedule and would love to go to the beach in the fall. I agree with Travis and I really think you all would love the beaches of Lake Michigan or for more adventure Mackinac Island, included? The weather is simply divine.
    I really need to plan a trip to Asheville! I have decision fatigue sometimes or I overthink it and then I am mad at myself for not planning something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bet decision fatigue too! For sure.
      I know what you mean about being tied to a schedule…so the week in the fall is nice (but they add some teacher work days before school for us…anyway…) DC is on our list. We’d love to do Lake Michigan but know we’d need to go later in the summer which has always been difficult with baseball but we don’t have that on our schedule now. We’ll see.


      1. Yes to Michigan in July or August! June can be too cold. I love having time at home in the fall and spring so I know not traveling is partly my choice!
        I like summer travel when I have cushion before and after the trip! I need packing cubes! Never had them!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So much you said here rings so true for me and my family as well Jen. We did not travel much when I was growing up. It was typically to New England beaches during the summer. We did a couple of road trips during the summer too to Niagara Falls and Pennsylvania and one year we flew to Disneyland in California. As a parent now, we travel much more and sometimes I feel guilty but I love making the memories and truly cherish them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! I never regret the travel…and am glad we go a variety of places…but it just sometimes feels like another thing to keep up with or more decisions to make for my already tired brain 😂


  3. I need to look into the Siesta Keys after reading about it on several blogs today! I think it is nice to have a school break to stay at home for down time to sleep in, relax, and even check out the local attractions in your own area. It is fun to travel, but good to have a break at home too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We love Isle of Palms too and I have been to Lake of the Ozarks more than once.

    I do like those big buckle Birks. You are making me rethink Birks!!!

    Thanks for joining us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I was a kid our “travel” was to visit relatives or to go camping. I can think of only a few big trips we did that weren’t that. I think travel has become a lot more accessible than it was when I was younger and the world just feels smaller.

    We travel A LOT with our kids but that’s because both Dave and I really love it. We don’t always go somewhere during March Break but given all the staying home we had to do in 2020 and 2021, we are wanting to take advantage of going places while we can.

    This will be the first year that I am working full-time in a school and we are gone for all of March Break so I will have to see how that feels. We also “travel” a lot because my parents live three provinces away. But going to see my parents doesn’t feel like travel to us, even though it is. If that makes any sense.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. It’s such a privileged position to be in to be able to travel and see different parts of our world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always happy to travel (9 hour car ride) to see my family. As the kids have gotten older, that’s been harder to do…& thankfully they visit us pretty often. Travel is such a privilege…and there are so many places I want to see 🙂


  6. I loved hearing your thoughts on travel. I only remember a few trips from my childhood, and my kids definitely have experienced more travel than I did. Our travel has slowed down a little with the kids in college. It is hard to get everyone’s schedules to line up! I’m hoping for a family trip around their Christmas break. And I agree about the beach in the fall! For many years, we went to cool weather destinations like the Pacific NW for a summer vacation. Have a wonderful weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

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